Searching For The Sun: Revisiting Olite

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Things to do near Pamplona


In February I moved to Pamplona to teach English and explore the north of Spain. Pamplona is a small medieval city in the north of Spain, famous for its location along the Camino Santiago and the annual San Fermin (running of the bulls) festival. It is a city filled with history, monuments and green spaces and within easy reach of many well-known (and lesser-known) places to visit such as the Basque coast, the Pyrenees and Bilbao.

The first time I visited this little Spanish town the experience wasn’t great. I was with my host-family on the way to have lunch with the grandparents, and we stopped by Olite because they had told me it was very beautiful and were eager to show me. My eagerness to see the town didn’t last long upon arrival. This was back in February and I was still in denial that the whole of Spain wasn’t warm all year round. As a result I was severely underdressed for the freezing cold rain pouring down and the wind that was bending my umbrella all over the place. My host-family were also having a bad time and after a few minutes we agreed to get back into the car and put Olite in our diaries for another day.

(Photographer: George Galliano)

If you’re a fan of traditional Spanish towns, Olite will be your kind of place. © George Galliano

Olite is a small town in the centre of Navarre and only 42 km south of Pamplona. It is a pretty medieval town with grand stone houses and narrow cobbled streets with many little shops selling treats of Navarre. You’ll also find a few welcoming bars where you will be able to enjoy a caña (the Spanish standard-sized beer) and a delicious pinxo (tapas of the North) for around €3.50 — in the sunshine, if you are lucky. There are two churches that are worth a visit, one built during the 13th century adjoining the palace and the other located next to the town dating from the 12th century. The town also has a monastery and underground medieval galleries, as well as numerous vineyards and bodegas producing the famous wine from the region surrounding the whole town.

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